Reflections of Dr. Ille. C. Gebeshuber, Professor,  Vienna University of Technology & Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia on ICCICCT-2014

Oh what a pleasure it was to attend the ICCICCT-2014 as a special guest, delivering a keynote on „The Future of Communication“. I had been to Bangalore just a month before, to the Indian Institute of Science, giving a keynote on a conference on design for sustainable well-being and empowerment, and was excited to have the chance to visit this great, huge country again within such short time. The travel was nice, since there is a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I am currently based, to Chennai. New friends from the ICCICCT-2014 organizing team picked me up at the airport and brought me to the very South of the subcontinent, to Kumaracoil. I was happy to see the beginnings of the Western Ghants, a beautiful wild mountain range that starts there. The next day, the conference started, and I was overwhelmed by the friendliness and professional attitude of my hosts. The opening ceremony was so nice, lighting an oil lamp for good luck for all of us, and success of the conference, and very beautiful chains around our necks, made from sandalwood beads with a lovely scent.

My presentation started with a quotation from Arthur C. Clarke, a science fiction author with strong ties to India:
He believed that just as life had covered the Earth to form the biosphere, so mankind — thinking life — would eventually encompass life to form a higher layer, a cogitative layer he called the noosphere.” -- Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, The Light of Other Days (2000).

I shared findings on communication in plants (within a plant, between plants, between plants and non-plant organisms), animals (touching also upon senses we people do not have, such as the magnetic sense and echolocation), and people, in the past, in the present and how it can be envisaged for the future. The global convergence of information and communications technologies promises exciting new developments in human approaches. The current online paradises are just the beginning – together we can bring them to reality – with the help of elaborate control, instrumentation, communication and computational technologies. Neural integrated communication can transform the world and level mankind into new spheres … Let’s start the journey to tomorrow!

After my keynote, I had the chance to listen to some talks given by international and Indian colleagues. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations, and the tedious journeys some of the presenters undertook to be able to be present at the event. Some of them had been on the train for 19 hours! I also had the chance to visit some laboratories, and talk to researchers from Noorul Islam University. Impressive work for such a young university! The next day, I guided some interested faculty and students to the beginnings of the Western Ghats, for an educational biomimetics walk. I shared concepts, trends and developments from biomimetics, learning from living nature for applications in science and engineering , with my new friends. We learned a lot, mutually, saw a chameleon (my first one in the wild!) and went to a beautiful little waterfall.

The night I spent in Kanyakumari, the most southern tip of India, and had the chance to experience the sunset from my balcony. What a great experience! The islands just off the shore were still in the mist, people were chanting, and the rising sun greeted this beautiful country, and all its inhabitants, people, animals, plants and microorganisms.
It was a wonderful conference and I met lovely people (who are also great researchers!) – thank you so much!